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every book i have written so far this week after it is published by a read the exact perfect quote so i read this book from a european, black european and british sociologists that said race is not biological it is more language than anything. that is exactly what we're trying to capture. language of black america in this age of all. language and is most molecular form, its identity, that is nothing more than the memory and that we have the their experience store passed down to us from people in our tribe that experienced that it. it is the root and of the focus of who we are. then what do we need from our leadership?
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that the idea of identity and provides aa distinct political character. that is one of the things we identified, they show this very clear the. first thing is that african-americans are the most liberal voting bloc in the country. . . very clear the. by city the most liberal city in the country is detroit and the most conservative city is somewhere in utah. so it's a function of the language of race is one of liberation. we want to be freed. so you see that sort of the political consciousness.
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now, one of the first things we see and we talk about this in the book the economic policy of black people this keynesian which means we see that government -- we see the government plays a role in economics. i haven't seen a pulled yet but i'd sure if there was one order is one out there you would see that african americans really want the government to play a very central robust role in procreation, wpa, moodie like a job creation program. the second thing which is equally important is we are distinctly pro union and there's a chapter in the book we talk about early in chicago shorty after barack obama was elected and they went on dustin on strike because they won on getting their wages and
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basically they were -- the plant closed, windows and doors, and there were not going to give their wages. this was mostly latinos but latinos and blacks had been to get branded to be a good day strike. it was on television and obama to his credit played a big role urging them on because he came on television and said he supported the strikers and one of the july of reporting this book is one of the things i discovered was that one of the earliest forms of the union organizing was black women on the plantation, the sleeps plantation, they would organize a sit-down strike or just stop work to get a sunday off or be able to visit their relatives on
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a plantation. and to this day of course if you talk to the sort of a union avoidance lawyers they will tell you the person they fear the most, black women because they are the most likely to join a union so this is true with every demographic but especially us. so the only thing we have to identify as we are pro-military but antiwar and you can see this going back since world war two since every war african-americans have been against even though we support the military as a means of rising up the social mobility. the first iraq war was one exception we initially supported there was propaganda then we sort of turned against it. so i say that to save
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understanding who we are is the basis for what france called national consciousness or steven called black consciousness and this is not to be confused with nationalism. in nationalism is fundamentally a chauvinistic view of your community using of the sort of national, nationalistic barometer the same way you use race or gender or tried and so but consciousness is a very different thing. it is sort of an understanding where you are trying to get to and it's the opposite of reactionary thought. but fred hampton talked about as being reactionary fighting fire with fire, you don't fight fire with fire you fight with walter, racism with solidarity, you fight capitalistic system that uses people as tools. you fight that with a capitalist
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system that uses -- that turns the equation upside-down and uses the economy as an instrument of the people. so anyway, i say that to talk a little bit about sort of who we are, where we are going and raise the question whether or not barack obama is this transformative leadership that we need or is it more reactionary and transactional. robert read the first chapter of his grandmother. i'm going to read from the last chapter about a young man named lee alexander south africa, 28 and he married a young african-american woman from chicago, and he -- this chapter
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begins basically when barack obama is about to accept the nomination for president at the 2008 convention in denver and there is a group of people about ten people mostly black but not all some blacks and whites and a few arab, and we are watching television as barack obama takes the stage and this young man is watching and he is everyone else is sort of celebrating. de e routt in celebration and lee is sort of looking pensive flee with his head between his knees and he's looking almost like he's worried and i describe this later in the conversation we had about this moment and why he was looking so pensively at
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this eve and everyone was celebrating. and of course i will read from here. materially very little has changed for his black countrymen since the vanquished white-minority rule in the space election. on and plame it is higher than ever. economic disparities have grown. the crime rate has soared, schools are crumbling and the farmland the country's most valuable resource remains almost wholly owned by whites just as it was during the days of apartheid. walk into any restaurant in k-town and see who sits and serbs, who drives their mercedes to work, the fleet of credit microbuses that swarm johannesburg and cape town and durban like pingree buzzing bees. who owns the house and who cleans it? mandela has come and gone from
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the main stage and voters are preparing to elect a third black president. this is 2008. but the for defining truth of the land now as always is the darker the skin the poor you are. what good does it to a prisoner of the jailer looks like you but doesn't set you free? black south africans turn to one of their own and to govern but wasted the opportunity to transform the value in post on their country by outsiders and lee can hardly bear the thought of obama repeating the mistake in his adopted country. in south africa's case he believes the mistake was looking to the west generally and washington, d.c. specifically to solve the problems of african people and as was the case with apartheid nothing in america's fetish for either democracy or free market for people of color. what is it that the cubans say? each day in the world to hundred
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million children sleep in the states not one of them is in cuba. can america say that? while lee is watching, obama takes a step closer to the presidency and an african proverb comes to mind. one that his black countrymen tried to describe the dilemma and post-apartheid era. a got a stone but not a nut to crack, got the not know stone to brackett with. south africa's black majority government build homes for the people that left them without the money to pay their rent provided them with running water but shut off the tap when they couldn't pay the bill. replaced names of bullheaded white segregationists on the public school houses with those of black liberation heroes but didn't replace the shoddy roofs. ordered companies to hire blacks but permitted them to slash their wages. so it goes for the new south africa where a small white minority continues to inhabit a splendid country, splendid
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country that is for all intensive purposes canada while three-quarters of the population reside in a country with living conditions similar to those of kenya or zambia. it's almost as though black south africans vanquishing apartheid only apply a fresh coat of paint on fire. the architecture of the pressure remains intact. i like obama but i'm not getting to him, lee says leader. yes he is black but he has a white mentality because he was raised in a household with his grandmother scouting that from freakin' garbage. for at least 60 years blocks of africans and americans have seen in one another their avatar those slaves from the country ever landed a short in the united states. jim-crow laws were not for a different from apartheid structures. the catechism of the african american icon malcolm x was the
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model for that preached by the assassinated south african icon steve both mandela and king found inspiration from gondhi liberation hero. america's potent apartheid movement was largely set in motion by black americans like randall robinson and south africans africa on white settlers of dutch and french extraction who initiated the apartheid state or the splitting architectural image of america's white southerners. both groups invented folklore tales how they conquered hostile land and dark skinned people delivering civilization, religion and technology to welcoming sausages. south africans translate colloquially as red neck. there is a popular story told in south africa perhaps apocryphal. it goes like this, a white south africans traveled to the united states in the mid 80's and landed at o'hare international
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airport in chicago. at customs a white american immigration officer summed silently through the south africans passport for a minute or two prompting the white south african traveller to ask the middle-aged officer if there was a problem. so you're from south africa the officer asked without looking up? his i am the traveler answered expecting the worst. the officers stand his passport, lifted his hand to look the south african in the eye, smiled and returned it to him. we like the way you handle your niggers over there and he waved him through. consider this in 1961 the year that obama was born and mandela formed the armed wing of the african national congress black americans earn on average 54 cents for every dollar earned by white americans and 100% of all south africans living in poverty
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were black. 47 years later, 99% of all poor south africans are black and african-americans earnings have inched up to 57 cents for every dollar earned by white americans these are not political structures, political and economic structures designed for black people to get ahead. lee says later describing his private fault while the rumor around him celebrated obama's address. at roughly that moment his friend jelks and his parents held from haiti services from his stance grinning broadly. lee he shouts at his friend. yes, his brother answers. we are about to do this, he shouts pounding his chest for emphasis. shock the world, shocked the world south african stifel, beebee, south african style. yes, lee says removing his glasses to wipe them with a handkerchief, that is what i am
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afraid of. i will open up to questions but i hope you get a feel for what we were trying to expound upon which is what is our black political identity and sort of who we are in this age of post racial america. >> you just used the word went to to use, opposed racial america. i'm breaking my promise, i'm not speaking for [inaudible] if you know about the returns and focus on the individual and assumed identity politics post racial america seems to be [inaudible] it's become a slogan.
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people say opposed racial, look at the progress in the last half century since we did the institutional racism and people say no when you talk about post racial the get the president's that exist so consider that small argument it seems the argument all to be something that maybe bill cosby got himself in trouble for. don't argue about that word. argue about take a look at how much race it plays and the economic prosperity in the advancement of africa and contrast that with how much individual behavior is in dysfunctional behavior play in the economic defilement that you focus on as a good punch i can tell. i think maybe robert is in the middle. isn't that the bitter debate to have?
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>> the one we want to have, like [inaudible] and we do talk about that. there are a lot of them in the country and we focus on individuals. there's not a lot of people we talked to in this book jon and i have differences of opinions and that is why we wrote the book together partly because there are lots of different -- sorry, lots of different americas but there is -- it is unmistakable there are still top-down things that happen in america that affect how you operate in today's society. a black man was elected president of the united states a year ago and then next morning in a lot of communities including my own in the paper the headline the next day in the
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newspaper that all the news in that area said louisiana favors mccain. the was the headline. it didn't even say obama was president, it said obama to receive intelligence briefing. it never said he was the 44th president of the united states so to say that it's just what happens to individuals it's not true what exists in today's society. has there been progress? everyone we talked to would talk about the progress that has been made but opposed racial has become we would argue a political term and we are not that far apart a political term that doesn't mean anything, it is meant to squelch the discussion as opposed to open up eight debate. >> i just want to add one thing, one of the things we want to tackle in the book the
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complicated intersection between race and class and of course it is difficult to part the two but one thing you see over and over again and this is why we want to give voice to the ordinary uncelebrated african-americans or people who are black or identified with black or speak the same language as one of the women we interviewed that we profile as a white woman from scotland originally married a caribbean man and had two daughters. i joke she's the blackest person in the book in some ways but one of the ways to identify and talk about is how every successful social movement in this country's history black people have played a central role. that is not meant to assert any premises of superiority it is just true whether it is the abolitionist movement, whether it is the civil rights movement, every construction which is trying to build a deleterious
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society not just for black people but white people who also fought the war so we were trying to get this voice because typically when blacks have been sort of have assumed leadership roles the rest of the country followed in one way shape or form so that's one of the things we want to do is give a voice to people whose voices are increasingly marginalized but are very central to any kind of progress in this country in terms of social movements. >> if you can keep the microphone and handed off to the next person. >> i am a washingtonian and current graduate student. i want to get your reaction to a statement. what i want to focus on is the impact of the obama presidency
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on making realized gains for the african-american community and one of the reasons why some of those may not have been realized is because the lack of sophistication of african-americans as a collective organized unit so for example idp leaves barack obama is one of the first presidents but lacks the base. i say he doesn't have a base because many of the groups responsible for his election were african-americans and young people and both of these groups have not traditionally been in the power structure of america therefore we are not used to holding the leaders accountable or are not as good as you would say conservative evangelical movement. this impacts obama's ability to impact these groups because he doesn't have this base it's hard for him to have a solid
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construct that informs his decision making because obviously his construct doesn't align with african-americans as you can tell by the congressional black caucus lack of ability to sway his agenda so i just want to get your reaction to that thought that he doesn't have a base and it may be our fault not being as able to hold leaders accountable. >> the argument to make why he's not doing what his constituents want is because his constituents aren't making him do it. the would go to the first point that i guess i take exception to the fact african-americans were one of the main people elected because democrats have always gotten 97% of the black vote and so obama i have gotten i forget the number is but it's 13% of the population and black folks
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didn't put him in office the would have gone away from him maybe they would have heard him but any way you wanted to see something? >> by putting him in office i think you have to focus [inaudible] >> that is somewhat the question that spawned the book because we've been arguing in some ways we agree where we want to go we've been arguing two years about barack obama but here's what i have to say about that. it's a great question. one thing is that barack obama does have a place. the problem is that the base is not unique to barack obama. it was true of bill clinton that the establishment of a lack of a better term conservatives and even to be honest the blue dog democrats and white democrats from southern states mostly were more conservative don't accept
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as legitimate the base which is black people of color women, they don't accept the database as legitimate. that is part of the problem and issue of how george bush was elected the first time even though he didn't have an mandate he boston office so that brings me to the second point which is that part of the problem he's not recognized as having a legitimate base, legitimate president by wide swaths of the country. i can't tell you if it is half or not but a substantial chunk of the country. the other problem is that i think -- i don't have the answer to this but i agree the black people have to do more to make demands on black politicians and
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all politicians as well as working class people need to make more demand on politicians. the to the antiwar demonstrations and people on the street and the immigrant movement that put people in the streets of chicago and los angeles were around the world nothing changed and i see that to say this. i'm not convinced we aren't at a point at a field a state that is unable or unwilling to respond to most of the people if you look at health care reform most people want single-payer some kind of government style health care reform. they don't respond, they don't get it. they don't want us to be in this war. we expand the war under barack.
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there is this illegitimate base that barack is seen by powerful people and the other is i'm not sure barack obama is and having at this .8 field seat. he's not innocent on this but it's not like he's the first either. there is a history of i think you could easily go back to clinton of this being a failed state unresponsive to the people and to see that again and again. >> the failed state is on's board. some people talk about it as a field state but people talk about the unresponsive news of government and not in that larger sort of context but there's a lot of different voices i would say some would argue there's just not enough pressure on that and i don't think that is so easily dismissed. schenectady evening. i and gereed the presentation. and brother jeeter, you said that blacks constitute [inaudible] i would say for the
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most part it's to put the issue of same-sex marriage on the ballett, the liberalism goes right out the window and also to questions. first of all have you heard from terry mcmillan and secondly i would like your views on racial nomenclature as its passing the upcoming citizens triet when it comes to the issue of race you have the block that says black african-american or negro and there are a number of african-americans particularly young african americans protesting that negro is appearing on the 2010 census but supposedly there's still 2% of the black population so-called [inaudible] what are your feelings about this?
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>> first i want to respond -- because this is the first question you had about our african-americans view toward the gay community and gave rights and this is a foe one -- if we had more time to one chapter of wanted to write was african-americans tend to toward the gay community and based on what happened in los angeles and california during the the election and i don't know if you remember there was tremendous scapegoating as soon as it failed the exit polls said african-americans are against gay marriage and we were. the majority voted and were against the marriage not nearly as much a bill about latinos, whites and mormons and catholics why would people scapegoat boss los? so this is a relevant issue to the book which is like this sort of cynicism, faithless this in
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the community and sort of inability to recognize us for who we are. there is a tremendous amount of homophobia in the african community it just happens not nearly as much as others so why are we always singled out? there is a new ones that's complicated. i don't want to make it seem as though we are perfect. we are not by any stretch of the imagination and we need to deal with this idea of homophobia but it's a lot more nuanced than you would see in the mainstream press. on the issue of five never spoken to terry and i don't expect a call from her by the way. on the last question on aware of this sort of phrasing of the language for the census. i'm kind of diagnostic. especially now when we are seeing if you look at the unemployment now what everyone not just blacks but the unemployment rate measured the way we did its 22%.

CSPAN April 6, 2010 12:00am-12:30am EDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Obama 8, South Africa 4, Barack Obama 4, Chicago 4, Lee 4, Mandela 2, Los Angeles 2, Terry Mcmillan 1, Randall Robinson 1, Jelks 1, Steve Both Mandela 1, European 1, New South Africa 1, Detroit 1, Moodie 1, Routt 1, Brackett 1, Pingree 1, Lee Alexander 1, Fred Hampton 1
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